Lansing – The city of Detroit is not required to bargain with the Detroit Police Officers Association, whose contract expired June 30, a judge ruled Monday.
The ruling by Ingham County Circuit Judge Paula Manderfield means the union’s 2,130 members have no idea how much they are being paid. A different judge last week ordered the city to continue paying police officers under terms of their old contract until Monday’s hearing, but that injunction was lifted Monday.
“The city has not revealed their terms of employment,” association President Joe Duncan said when asked if the city has offered a labor agreement for police. “You’d have to ask the city that.”
Manderfield said forcing Detroit into binding arbitration could hinder the city’s economic recovery.
“While police officers deserve every dollar they earn, I don’t believe the public interest would be served if the injunction was granted,” Manderfield said.
Association attorney Phil Iorio argued the city and the union arrived at an agreement last February that included significant concessions on the part of the police officers, but the city did not take any action to formalize the deal. Since then, he said, the city has refused any further negotiations with the union.
Iorio argued the city is required to enter into binding arbitration under Public Act 312, a law designed to force cities to negotiate with public safety officers who are legally barred from going on strike.
“(The city has) put the parties at the precipice of the very type of labor strike Act 312 was to avoid,” Iorio said.
Arguing on behalf of state Treasurer Andy Dillon, Assistant Attorney General Michael Murphy said the city of Detroit is not in a position to bargain. He said Detroit could end up with an emergency manager if the city is unable to execute the Financial Stability Agreement.
“The public interest here is that the city of Detroit survive,” Murphy said. “That’s what this stability agreement is about.”
From The Detroit News.